Five days of ups and downs: The Otter Trail II

Day 3 – Scott to Oakhurst hut

On the third day the hike started very close to the coast again and just like the days before, each hill was directly followed by another valley. Although ever changing after each turn, the only thing that remained constant was the amazing view on the surrounding landscape.

Halfway through the day we were confronted with our first, small river crossing. This was only knee-deep and a breeze to get through. As you can see below, the water had a glowing red-brown colour if not too deep. This brown colouring is due to tannins that are washed out of the roots in the riverbeds and is typical for all rivers in the region.

On the last ascend of the day we caught up with a big group of baboons (probably about 20 in total). However when we got closer they quickly dispersed into the surrounding forest and we only got to observe the last remaining ones for a bit longer.

Oakhurst hut turned out to be a nice camp, again right next to the ocean but with one major drawback: the water! So far the water has always been slightly brownish (tannins) but this has been no reason for worry. The water at the hut of day 3 however, was dark brown to cappuccino-coloured and especially when cooked a strange foam settled on top. Some hikers settled for T-Shirt-filtering while we decided to use the already salted ocean water to cook our pasta – it was delicious!

Day 4 – Oakhurst to Andre hut

If you ask anyone who has ever hiked the Otter their overall impression, you are more than likely to hear that the most exciting day of the whole 5 day trail has to be day 4! Why? Because of the Boulkran’s river crossing. This is the biggest river crossing of the whole hike. We had received the low tide schedule of the Boulkran river at the start of the hike and the park reception couldn’t stress enough how important it was to cross –only- at low tide. 

Most of the hikers seemed stressed about the journey ahead and most left before dawn with their headlamps. The hike to the Boulkran was of roughly 10km and the low tide scheduled at 13:15. We were the last ones to leave the camp at 7AM.  

We arrived at the famous Boulkran river after 4h of hiking, around 11AM. Since we had lots of time to spare before the low tide and the river crossing, we had lunch, had a look around and spent some time with the other hikers. 

We crossed the river around 12:50 with the water being a bit higher than our waists, so we had to carry our bags hands up to our head (thankfully we had eaten almost all our food by day 4, so our bags were weighing about 15kg compared to the 20kg of the start of the hike).

After the river crossing, we still had another ~3km to go and we reached our hut around 15h30. This time we stayed in a nice big bay with interesting rock formations reaching out into the ocean.

Read more on the Otter Trail here (soon to come).


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